This statistical research made use of past experimental studies about the media effects of the exposure on the ideal body image to the tendency of the participants to succumb to eating disorders. The media portray models that exude the ideal physique and when people are exposed to them, there might be an effect on how they perceive their body image that could lead them to have eating disorders in their hopes of having a perfect body. The study concluded that exposure to the ideal body image had insignificant effects in the development of symptoms for eating disorders among the participants.
The researchers made a systematic search for available literature and identified 33 studies related to the media effects of the portrayal of the ideal body image on the possible occurrence of symptoms related to eating disorders among the participants. Media effects were manifested in the participants’ satisfaction with their respective body images and positive or negative affect towards their bodies such as their levels of self-esteem, anger, or anxiety. The researchers distinguished these factors as facilitating or hindering influences to the development of eating disorders. The results of the study showed that exposure to media’s presentation of the ideal physique had an insignificant effect in the development of eating disorders as there was little effect on their self-esteem and negative affect towards their own body image. However, the researchers also noted that there were moderate effects among participants who already had a high risk for depression. They were dissatisfied with their bodies and exhibited symptoms of eating disorders.
This research made use of different studies to examine the media effects of the exposure to the perceived ideal body image to the occurrence of eating disorders among the participants. It sought to quantify the attitudes and behaviors of different people. This kind of quantitative research limits our view regarding a serious issue such as eating disorders. Some people want a systematic analysis of how individuals behave. However, people are complex beings and there are numerous factors that influence their attitudes and behaviors that cannot be covered or captured in a controlled setting. The study also failed to identify which eating disorders they were referring to as there are several types of eating disorders that have different symptoms. There is no denying that media can have a big influence on people’s perception of the ideal body but it was not clear in this research how much exposure is deemed unsafe for a person to develop a negative body image that could lead to having an eating disorder. There are also different modes of communication and it would also be an important factor to identify which channels were used to expose the participants to the presentation of the ideal body image. A study of eating disorders also needs more time and assistance of mental health professionals. Thus, one should be cautious in interpreting the results of this study.